This summer, Special Counsel Robert Mueller instructed Donald Trump’s White House to preserve all documents related to Michael Flynn. Mueller never did seem to be in a hurry to collect those documents, which strongly suggested that he already had his own copies. Now the White House is finally turning over at least some of those documents (link) – but I believe this has been a trap all along.
Ask any prosecutor or trial attorney, and they’ll tell you that if they’re formally asking the opposition to preserve documents without seeking to immediately collect those documents, it’s because they’re setting a trap. They already have copies of the documents in question, or they already have the necessary information that those documents contain. The point is to get the other side to panic and destroy the most incriminating documents – thus committing obstruction. So now whoever destroyed the documents is on the hook for a crime, and can then be compelled to cooperate by flipping on the real target.
This feels precisely like that Robert Mueller is now doing to Donald Trump’s White House. If he didn’t already have what he needed, he would have demanded that it be immediately turned over, or he would have simply gotten a warrant and taken it. By doing it this way, he gave the White House plenty of time to panic and destroy evidence. Now that it’s turning over some documents, he can go through and see what if anything is missing. Then he can expand his investigation. The point is to ensnare as many people as possible, and get them to flip on Trump.
By the way, Robert Mueller’s decision to finally request the Michael Flynn documents means that he’s finished building his case on Flynn and he’s ready to move against him. It’s why Congress made one final request this week that Flynn testify, which he turned down. It’s why House Democrats have turned over their evidence on Flynn to Mueller (link). Flynn is about to be backed into a corner, leaving him with the choice of giving up Trump or going to prison.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report